It takes a lot for a case maker to stand out at CES or BestBuy for that matter. But XAWireless has managed to do so with a line of inspirational gear. Their eco-friendly natural cases are made of bamboo with words of wisdom engraved in the wood.
The StumpStand looks like it came out of IKEA, but it's designed and built in the USA. The solidly built tablet stand is solid angled chunk of rubber with special grooves to accommodate an iPad in a three different angles. It weighs just over half a pound and is available in assorted colors such as black, white, yellow, blue, red, purple and green!
Frankly, some products at CES suck, but in the case of the Sea Sucker (www.AppleMount.com) that's a good thing! If you want to mount your iPhone or iPad from your car windshield or dashboard, for GPS purposes, or perhaps on a side window for the kids in the backseat, you might be concerned about a suction cup that will eventually give way and drop your valuable device.
I picked up an iDangle case at CES from Fastcap that turned out to be very useful. It had a built-in lanyard made of a tough fabric that actually embedded a set of earbuds. A clever system allows those earbuds to be routed through the case into the iPhone's headphone jack. The earbuds don't have a microphone but I was able to place calls in a noisy CES show floor and I could hear and be heard just fine, using the phone's built-in microphone.
I have been attending CES (and Comdex, CES' now defunct competitor) for over two decades... since 1988 in fact! Each time, when I come back home, everybody asks me what the trend was. Sometimes it's bigger TVs, or flatter TVs, or 3D, smartphones or faster processors or smaller laptops or tablets. This year, however, the trend is not a particular technology or product set... The trend from CES 2012 has been 'Made in the USA.' I really did not anticipate this trend. Indeed I'm not sure that more products are actually being made in the USA than in prior years. What appears to be the case is that the vendors who do make products in the USA have been more upfront and vocal about it than ever.
Apple does a lot of things right, but an integrated lanyard clip might have helped to prevent dropped (and broken) phones. Then again, AppleCare revenue might be an incentive not to. Enter EK Ekcessories who have been making rugged retention accessories for outdoor, recreation and security since 1985 in Utah. They are addressing the iOS market with a line of rugged leashes that use a 30pin dock connector to attach to the iPhone, iPod touch or even an iPad!
Last year, at MacWorld 2011, I wrote about the Rev360 rotating handheld case for the iPad. Now, the manufacturer, Hub Innovations, has enhanced the case to accommodate Apple's Smart Cover and work more comfortably in your hand and reliably as a horizontal or vertical stand. The Rev360 is made in Portland, Oregon out of a flexible, durable material and feels great in your hands.
The nice folks at Braggables.com have a line of iOS accessories (named iBrag of course) that let you carry your gadgets in style and brag about your loved ones at the same time!
There were plenty of earbuds for the audiophile at CES but I only saw one that specifically went after the female listener and incorporated something brand new. The ladies at ChicBuds know their clientele, having delivered feminine audio gear for several years now. Their latest earbuds have a rubber flat cord, similar to the much more expensive Beats earbuds but these cords are narrower so they are less bulky and ChicBuds has figured out how to print a pattern directly on that rubberized cord! As you might imagine, the patterns are feminine, but I found a blue paisley version that worked for me.
If you don't like typing on a touchscreen, you are not alone. There is no physical feedback, you might hit the wrong key, and you leave fingerprints and oil all over the screen. You might even have mobility issues that present a challenge.